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  • Ann Yeong

The power of limits for intentional living


Ever since I became clearer about my personal vocation, I have come to appreciate how powerful an ally my human limits are to my mission. Both of these - the clarity about the purpose of my life AND the clarity that my time and energy are limited - often help me make tough decisions.


Solitude and Rest

Do you set aside protected time for solitude and rest? I never used to because it seemed like such a waste of time when there is so much that needs to be done in a day. Back when my days were an endless blur of activity, even my time alone was not restful. I would be scrolling endlessly on my phone, texting people or binge-watching videos. The busier I have been, the more restless my alone time tended to be. And I never fully realised how essential being rested in body, mind and spirit was to living an integrated and authentic life.


I never fully realised how essential being rested in body, mind and spirit was to living an integrated and authentic life... Time alone to be silent, to ease into restfulness and a state of being is not a luxury but a necessity.

But the further I walk in my interior journey, the more I recognised that time alone to be silent, to ease into restfulness and a state of being is not a luxury but a necessity. In fact I realised that because my mind is easily excitable, I need a good length of time in the evening to let my mind rest before bedtime or else I cannot truly rest even when I sleep.


Blocking out the time I need for solitude and rest is a prime way I have learned to embrace what my limits - limits that my younger self would have tried to break through by pushing myself as far as possible until I break down or burn out.


Curating My "Life-feed"

I have come to recognise how easily dissipated my energy becomes when I am careless about what I consume. This is true of actual food for my body - but this truth extends way past physical food to what I feed my mind, my heart, and my soul.


I have learned to recognise when I have let in too much "junk food" / noise into my interior space and when I need to re-draw my internal boundaries to protect myself.

The shows I watch, the music and podcasts I listen to, the newsfeeds I follow, the books I read, the people I meet and the conversations I have - all these things have an impact on my ability to remain mindful, focused and intentional. I have learned to recognise when I have let in too much "junk food" / noise into my interior space and when I need to re-draw my internal boundaries to protect myself. That's when I suspend my Netflix account, stay away or refrain from lingering on social media, and purposely wait before replying emails and messages so that I have time and space to make my responses intentional rather than reactive.

Saying "No" To Good Things

By far the hardest thing to do when I honour my limits is having to say 'no' to wonderful things. I have long learned that a truly intentional and authentic life requires ruthless editing. It's not enough to cut out what is bad and unhealthy. If you really want to live a purpose-led life - if you really desire to live out your personal vocation, you need to be able to let go of many good and helpful things when they distract you rather than help you.


A truly intentional and authentic life requires ruthless editing. It's not enough to cut out what is bad and unhealthy. If you really want to live a purpose-led life - if you really desire to live out your personal vocation, you need to be able to let go of many good and helpful things when they distract you

For me, that often means saying 'no' to reading a new book on my too-long reading list because it does not feed me in my current season. It also means being very discerning about social meets because my vocation calls me to be so intensely engaged intellectually, emotionally and spiritually whenever I am with someone that I easily over-extend myself. It means intentionally choosing a slower, less "exciting" pace so that I can continue to go deep in my interior journey and live more contemplatively.


The limit to my time, energy, and my awareness of my mortality all help me to choose more wisely and savour each moment more deeply.

My growing awareness and acceptance of the limits in my life has helped me become clearer about my priorities and what I need to be more fully alive. The limit to my time, energy, and my awareness of my mortality all help me to choose more wisely and savour each moment more deeply.


I have come a long way from seeing my human limits as adversaries to be conquered to friends who protect me and help me live the life I am meant to live. I am human. I am finite. And oh what a wonderful thing that is!

Listen to Episode 17 Befriending Our Limits on the Becoming Me Podcast from Wednesday 17 March, 2021. Spotify: https://buff.ly/34vZRf1

Apple Podcasts: https://buff.ly/34rFkIu

Google Podcasts: https://buff.ly/3n9MHgh

Website: https://buff.ly/3kzUylB

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